PhotoPad Image Editor doesn't have the depth of features found in pro image editors, but it does have all the basic editing tools and lets you apply some neat effects without any specialized knowledge. If you don't want to get past a steep learning curve in order to edit your images, this is a very solid download.
The program installs very quickly, but in the last step you will be prompted to download Google Chrome and set it as your default browser, so uncheck the box if you don't want this extra. PhotoPad Image Editor's plain interface has a large editing window under a File menu with all the options easily accessible, including Edit, Color, Effects, Tools, and Suite. A toolbar displays options that change with each menu option, so it's never cluttered or hard to find what you're looking for. Once you choose an icon, you can apply the effects and tweaks in a sidebar menu that also shows your history of changes, which was a very nice touch. The editing tools are basic and allow you to crop, flip, or resize the image. Under Color, you can adjust the brightness and contrast, and instantly apply a sepia or grayscale effect. The Effects let you blur or sharpen the image, but also include options to quickly pixelate your image or make it look like an oil painting. The Tools section is where you can add text, or draw on the image freeform, and turn your image into a collage, mosaic, or panorama. Finally, the Suite tools let you upload your image to Facebook or Flickr or send it through e-mail. We liked that most options are easily set with a slider and you can instantly see how it changes your image, and just as importantly, easily undo any changes you've made.
PhotoPad Image Editor's slider approach might not give you the control you'd want if you were an image editing pro, but for the casual photographer, it's a great way to tweak your image and apply some very polished effects. It's so easy to use that most won't even need to crack open the Help file to use it. Best of all, it's free, so you've got nothing to lose by trying the program out.